Why do we like what we like? Is it because “it” makes us feel good now, or it made us feel good somewhere back in time? One of my least favorite questions to answer was “What’s your favorite color?” There are so many beautiful colors in this world, how could I choose just one?
But I can, and I have. I do have a favorite, and that color is yellow. The reason goes back to a 6th grade Mother/Daughter Dinner at Oak Park Elementary School, more than 45 years ago. It was near the end of the school year, just before entering junior high school. The elementary school sponsored a “Mother/Daughter Dinner” in the school cafeteria, and my mom took me. Just me. No siblings or fathers were allowed (I had 3 brothers and 3 sisters), so I guess my dad was home “holding down the fort” while puttering in the garage. Dads back then did not “babysit.” (For the record, I have NO IDEA if the 6th grade boys had a father/son dinner… I can only assume they did.)
At the school, my Mom sat beside me at one of the long cafeteria tables filled with mothers and daughters, coaching me how to eat the baked chicken on my plate. This was my first experience eating chicken with a fork and a knife–using good table manners–instead of eating the chicken leg with my fingers as we did at home.
At some point in the evening, I won an award for a short story I’d written during the school year–something about a record player. This night became memorable in that it was the first time in my life a non-relative gave me a personal compliment in front of my mother. A woman unrelated to me told me I looked pretty in yellow, and that I had a beautiful complexion. Me! I was wearing a YELLOW outfit, and I was pretty in it. Amazing!
I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember WHO complimented me. Whoever she was, she told me I looked pretty in yellow, and that I had a beautiful complexion. This was earth-shaking! I remember blushing to the roots of my hair and scrambling to say “thank you!” The outfit was a pretty two-piece v-neck blouse and skirt in a yellow and white plaid, with a squared-off sailor collar. I probably argued with my mom about wearing it that night… I usually complained that fabrics were “scratchy” on my skin, which she ignored or told me I was imagining it.
I don’t believe I ever had a chance to have my photo taken in that yellow outfit, but my younger sister wore it the following year for her school picture, so I see it every few years in an album–that’s how it is with big families. I’m sure my youngest sister even got to wear it a time or two!
So yeah, my favorite color is lemon yellow. The memory of it makes me feel pretty and appreciated and young, even now, so many decades later. I can’t wear most yellows (they make my skin look sallow) but the best yellow colors are found naturally in flowers, of which the most beautiful to me is the yellow daffodil.